Through the 2013 NBA Draft on June 27, former Florida Gators forward Erik Murphy, the team’s leading three-point shooter last season (.453), will be keeping you up-to-date on his Path to the Draft via a weekly blog entry here on OGGOA.
Between workouts in Las Vegas, NV on Thursday, Murphy got in touch with OGGOA to discuss his experience and performance at the 2013 NBA Combine and what he has been doing to get ready for the draft over the last week.
The week leading into the combine, we kept doing what we were doing at Impact Basketball in Las Vegas. We practiced drills that we knew they would test us on at the combine and just tried to make those become second nature. I flew up there Tuesday night and by the time we got to the JW Marriott, I just relaxed and went to sleep.
Wednesday was the first day of the combine, when everybody started to arrive. I got up early in the morning and basically did all kinds of media stuff. By the time I got done with the 10-15 interviews, it was the middle of the afternoon. Some guys had team interviews afterward but that was not on my schedule for the day. I hung out, saw a bunch of guys I met and knew from over the years (Peyton Siva, Deshaun Thomas, Ryan Kelly, Mason Plumlee, Gorgui Dieng, etc.), and then went to the gym to get some shots up and get a workout in before Thursday. It is kind of a long, boring day overall.
On Thursday we woke up around 6:30 a.m. and went downstairs to a ballroom. The first thing we did was take a urine test and then we had our blood drawn – a lot of blood. Then they took all of our measurements, a process that took about a half hour. We did a quick workout and then had breakfast before actually beginning the major workout part of the combine. There were a lot of drills, some of them specific by position – ball-handling, quick shots, one-on-one, two-on-two, three-on-three, transition drills, catch-and-shoot, finishing at the rim. The workout probably lasted 60-75 minutes, and it was definitely a tough because you’re out there with a bunch of talented players.
Everyone was excited and had their adrenaline going, so at the beginning you’re a little winded, but everything calms down and you begin to play your game and showcase your skills. I felt like I was in really good shape, ran the floor well and showed a little bit more of my athleticism than maybe people realize. I shot the ball well the first day.
A couple of the shooting drills, a couple times I got really hot. Starting off when we were doing one-dribble pull-ups, I missed like five or six in a row. I was a little over-excited and was long on a lot of them. When we started shooting threes, moving threes, spot threes, I think I went 18 for my first 20 and shot really well in those drills. Obviously that’s my biggest strength, and I definitely think I showcased that.
After we got done with the workout, we all took a bus back to the hotel to shower, grab something to eat and begin team interviews. That day I had two interviews in the afternoon, one with the Los Angeles Clippers and another with the Memphis Grizzlies.
They bring you into a room, whatever hotel room they have set up, and you go in and just talk to them for 40-45 minutes. It wasn’t anything crazy. They just asked a lot of questions about how you grew up, how you see yourself in the NBA. And then they ask you random questions; every team is a little different. They just want to get to know you. Those two interviews were different. One was a bit more loose and conversational while the other was closer to a question-and-answer session. They’re just trying to get a feel for the kind of person you are and how you handle yourself.
I didn’t really get any of the crazy questions that some guys talk about. Obviously a lot of teams want to know what happened my sophomore year when I got in trouble, got arrested. There were no outlandish questions or anything, but I heard some other guys got asked some interesting questions. One player was asked why manholes are round. [Editor’s Note: Manhole covers are round because they cannot fall through the round opening and are easier to move/roll.] Another player shook hands with the six or seven guys in the interview room and then someone asked him to recite each the name of each person he just met. That’s rough because a lot of guys are probably nervous when they walk in the room right off the bat.
The teams ask questions about drinking and smoking, how often you do this or that, have you ever done this or that. When I was talking to Utah, they asked if I had any other run-ins with the law. I thought about it and said no because I could not think of anything else. They asked if I was sure. “Nothing? No tickets, nothing?” I’m sitting there trying to think and said no again. Then they asked, “Are you sure you didn’t get a speeding ticket in Georgia?” I was like, “Yeah, I definitely did. I completely forgot about it.” It was actually when I was coming back from watching Lauren [Embree] play in the national championship last year. I got a speeding ticket in Georgia on one of those back roads. They know more about you than you think.
I’m sure some of you are wondering how I’ve been addressing what happened after my sophomore season, and the truth is that I’ve just been completely honest about it. Everything was recorded so it is pretty obvious what happened. There is no reason for me to lie about it, try to cover something up. It is what it is and it happened. Honestly, it was one of the better things to happen to me. After that I got refocused on my career, started playing better. It just woke me up. It was a blessing in disguise. When I get done discussing it, no one really harps on it, they just move on to the next question.
The next day, on Friday, we left the hotel a little bit later and did some relatively light workouts on the court compared to Thursday. Then we had all of our athletic testing, which took up the rest of the day and included drills like vertical jump, standing vertical, lane agility, bench press and sprints. My vertical was nothing crazy and that’s OK because a lot of people told me it is not a huge thing even though it certainly can help some other players, especially if they’re already known as big jumpers. I actually ended up being top-10 in one of the agility drills, which was funny to me…I thought that was funny and probably some of you think so, too.
Following the athletic testing, I had an informal meeting with the Utah Jazz and that was pretty much the only team I met with on Friday.
After finishing up the athletic part of the testing, things got grueling…or boring…depending how you look at it. I went over to the hospital and was involved in all kinds of medical tests, literally for everything and anything. I was probably there for at least three hours getting MRIs and X-rays on parts of my body for every little thing that has ever happened to me from last year all the way back to high school. Friday night we had a meeting with the NBA Players Association for about an hour or an hour-and-a-half. It may not have been too physically demanding of a day, but it was definitely a long day and undoubtedly mentally tiring.
On Saturday and Sunday, I was back in the hospital getting more medical testing, probably an average of three-and-a-half hours per day. Saturday I did a stress test on a treadmill as well as a ton of other tests. There were five or six team doctors in each booth and there were probably six booths. I also had a meeting with the Houston Rockets on Saturday, which was a really nice break between all of the medical stuff.
Sunday there was an eye exam, pulmonary testing, tests on your nervous system. Then the tests from your blood work came back and you get to go over those. For me, there were no red flags or anything, so that is obviously a good thing. Everything came out positive. I am all healed up from last season with no lingering injuries, and the rest of the tests – like the EKG – were all clean.
After that was over on Sunday, I went to the airport around 3:45 p.m. for a 5 p.m. flight and flew back to Las Vegas. I’ve spent the last week back in the gym working out.
My first team visit and workout will be this weekend with the San Antonio Spurs. I fly out there Saturday and will practice in front of team officials on Sunday. In total, I have 10 visits already set with nine of them scheduled in June. Some of those visits could certainly change and chances are there will be more added before the process is over. The 10 visits are just what I have scheduled as of right now.
DraftExpress interviews Erik Murphy at the NBA Combine: